Disease X to haunt 2021? Alarm bells in medical world after ‘patient zero’ with new zoonotic virus found in Congo

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The novel Coronavirus is also believed to have originated in one of the wildlife markets in the Wuhan city of China.Even as the world is reeling under the Coronavirus pandemic for almost a year, the doctor who had first discovered the Ebola virus has warned that far more deadly and contagious pathogens and viruses could hit mankind in future. The fears expressed by Jean-Jacques Muyembe Tamfum further got wind after a woman in the Democratic Republic of the Congo showed symptoms of a hemorrhagic fever, according to a CNN report.

The fears of a new lethal disease have increased after the woman tested negative for a range of tests including Ebola making scientists nervous about the spread of a new lethal virus. Health experts and scientists have termed the virus ‘Disease X’ signifying its untraced origin and behaviour and the woman suffering from the disease as ‘patient zero’. What has further increased the concern about the spread of this new virus is the estimates put out by scientists that the disease could spread at a rate similar to Coronavirus and could have a mortality rate of about 50-90 percent. When the Ebola virus was first discovered by the scientists, the virus had resulted in the mortality rate of about 88 percent of the patients and 80 percent healthcare staff.

Tamfum who had played an instrumental role in discovering the Ebola virus in 1976 has said that humanity faces innumerable new viruses and lethal infections. He also said that Africa’s tropical rainforests could be the source of emanating numerous lethal viruses in the world. Even before the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, the health experts and scientists had flagged the danger of lethal zoonotic viruses(that spread from animals to humans) entering human lives. Climate Change activists and wildlife experts have time and again raised concern over the destruction of the natural habitat of various species forcing these species come into contact with human life.

In addition to the destruction of the wildlife habitat, scientists have also raised concern about the prevalence of the wet wildlife market where different species are butchered and sold for consumption and other purposes. The novel Coronavirus is also believed to have originated in one of the wildlife markets in the Wuhan city of China.

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